Thursday, December 26, 2013

Those Years in the Urban Village (Song by Xuan Band about Chengzhongcun "villages amidst the city")

《城中村的那些年》 玄乐队
“Those Years in the Urban Village” by Xuan Band

词:刘刚(玄乐队) Words by Liu Gang (Xuan Band)
曲:任浪(玄乐队)  Music by Ren Lang (Xuan Band)

Lyrics can be found here or here (offensive adverts)
Song can be heard on Youku here

Those years in the urban village
The stall where I ate
The street side where I loafed
Those years in the urban village
The baby girl I fell for
And even the single room I slept in
Those years in the urban village
The ‘narrow brand’ I smoked
Discs I bought
Those years in the urban village
The roadside I slept on
The stall I laid out
灿烂的阳光 晒上电线杆
Radiant sunlight tanning me from the lamppost
饭馆的炉子 生火又冒烟
Stove in the restaurant giving heat but also smoke
街上的吆喝 热闹声不断
Sounds from the street are calls of excitement with no end
理发店的音响 嗨曲震破天
Music from the beauty salon ‘hey’ songs break through the air
肉夹馍的伙计 剁肉剁滴欢
The meat sandwich clerk chops slices with a smile
卖蒸馍的蒸笼 遮了半边天
The bamboo steamers full with buns take up half the sky
推车子的老汉 只卖麻辣串
The men pushing carts only sell spicy kabobs
三鲜麻辣两个锅 卖到两三点
Three baskets of mala spice in two pots is sold until 2 or 3 in the morning
小商店的老板 最爱谝闲传
The boss of the little shop loves to tell tall tales
饺子馆的香味 让人口水咽
The delicious odor of the dumpling restaurant makes mouths water
彩票店的顾客 个个神机算
Customers of the lottery shop calculate fortune of everything
算来算去很专业 闹个五百万
The precision of their calculations are enough for five million
麻将馆里人不断 麻将搓滴欢
There are always people in the Mahjong restaurant playing to their hearts’ content
房东么事日闲干 闲谝 扯个淡
The landlord does his work at a leisurely pace, telling tales and making stuff up
收完房费总会说 电费可包欠
After collecting the rent he will always say, electricity can be included in fee
想想挣地这点钱 我失眠了好几晚
Thinking about this little money I earn makes me sleepless for several nights
掐指头一算 毕业好几年
Counting on my fingers, I have already graduated for years
城中村的生活 也慢慢习惯
Life in the urban village, I have slowly become accustomed
一个人的单间 活滴赛神仙
Living in a one-person single room like an immortal
踏踏实实认认真真 啥都自己干
Very steady and very conscientious, doing everything myself
住的房子虽不大 起码有聚点
While the room I live in is quite small, at least it has a assembly point
桌上一台旧电脑 唯一的家产
An old PC resting on the table is my only asset
房顶有个老吊扇 转的真是慢
The turns of an old ceiling fan define slow
扇滴很有节奏感 扇不走孤单
It fans with a true rhythm of a melody, but cannot fan away loneliness
楼下有个两元店 经营总不善
There is a two yuan store downstairs but its business is always poor
喇叭天天喊的惨 没人进去转
Everyday a horn repeats its tragic call but no one goes in to browse
旁边就是服装店 款式赛开元
Beside it a clothing shop, its styles rivalling the Kaiyuan era
隔壁是个手机店 爱疯八百圆
Neighboring it is a mobile phone shop, iFeng for 800 coins
最爱吃的油泼面 八块一大碗
My favorite food of oil-splashed noodles costs 8 bucks for a large bowl
四川人的米线店 妹子真好看
At the Sichuan rice noodle store, there is a girl working who is quite good-looking
村子口的旧书摊 么事就去翻
The used-book counter at the center of the village is where I go when I have time to browse
快餐店的盖浇饭 灯光也温暖
Along with a rice bowl from the fast food restaurant is also their nice lighting
Those years in the urban village
The stalls at which I ate
The roadsides I loafed
Those years in the urban village
The baby girls that I chased
And even the single room I slept
Those years in the urban village
The ‘narrow brand’ that I smoked
The discs that I bought
Those years in the urban village
The roadsides where I slept
The stalls I set out
理发店的小伙子 门口抽着烟
The chap at the beauty parlor is smoking at the entrance
瞅着来往的姑娘 直直的看
Watching the ladies walk back and forth intently
五金店的小姑娘 电视不见关
The young lady at the hardware store never turns off the television
一天到晚看着那 白蛇传
From morning to night watching Legend of the White Snake on it
一眼望去的街道 都是小摊摊
Turning one’s eye to the street, small stalls and blankets with goods are everywhere
凉皮肉夹馍和冰峰 三秦好套餐
Cold noodles, meat sandwiches and Ice Peak drinks, the three making a good meal
鸳鸯锅火锅店 三毛钱一串
Mandarin duck pot and hot pot restaurants have one kebob for 30 cents
扯面拉条臊子面 面汤不要钱

Shaanxi noodles, pulled noodles and Qishan noodles – none of them charge for the broth 

Friday, December 20, 2013

GM-modified Corn, Protectionism and Normal China

Today, close to 600 thousand tons of corn from the US was denied entry to China on the basis that it was genetically-modified with MIR 162, a version of corn that does not have a “security certificate” in China. Last month, 60 thousand tons of the same GM corn was denied entry; as early as 2010, Swiss-based Syngenta had been trying to bring MIR 162 corn to China.
Why is China importing corn, or any other agricultural product for that matter? China has been a nation of farmers since before modernity; that it would need to import agricultural products—namely, rice, corn (and feed), cotton, soybeans—is surely news. The USDA reports, since 2008, China has used “price supports” to subsidize farmers, but its massive food inflation has benefitted US, rather than PRC, farmers, since the discrepancy between China domestic and global prices for agricultural products means farmers have been arbitraging all the way to the bank. US farmers may be trying to get MIR 162 corn past PRC customs, but PRC farmers are happy to have it to reduce cost and win market share.

Reproduced from without permission. 
China’s citizens have been subject to an onslaught of food safety scandals: 2008 brought infant milk powder; 2010 re-used cooking oil (地沟油); more recently clenbuterol steroid-lean pork. The idea that government can have any effect on standards and safety of food is in doubt in China.
For the global/Western community, the only comfort in the wake of the GSK (and other big pharma) bribery allegations in China is the idea that China imposes its rule of law haphazardly or only when it benefits China—or the vaguely “encompassing” (not private) interest of China-first enterprises.
For Chinese citizens, it can only be disconcerting that the majority of papayas are GM, and have been for over a decade, despite this only being revealed earlier this month. So GM food is widely spread in China, from insect-resistant rice to cooking oil, from cotton to papaya, yet China’s customs and Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) have rejected the import of MIR 162 corn from the US.

GM Food. By Urban Express. Used without permission.
In Chinese, “一朝被蛇咬,十年怕井绳” (if you are bitten once by a snake, you fear ropes for ten years). Infant milk powder, re-used cooking oil and clenbuterol scare the central government and MoA. Strict enforcement of “standards” and “bribery” scares Western corporations. Perhaps this is much ado about nothing?

A Chinese citizen noted to this author: US corporations are buying organic soybeans from Shandong while they sell GM soybeans back to China—how can this not be a Snowden-ian plot? As US agricultural exports to China rise to 7 million tons, accountability for food standards, disclosure to citizens and bureaucratism in “safety certificates” are in flux in thousands of tons of corn.